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Orla Kiely is a unique and exciting designer. Brand devotees, whether they are buying a notebook or one of her trademark bags, are buying a little piece of Orla herself.

But the brand’s online presence doesn’t do it justice and is underwhelming. The website misses a huge opportunity to personify this popular brand and fails to reflect its warmth.

The main site navigation makes great use of colour, but in Flash I suspect this will be hard to maintain, and will be potentially unusable on iPads and iPhones. The site is quite narrow and could easily be 80 to 100 pixels wider and still happily sit in a 1024 window to allow more width for campaign shots, navigation, calls to action and so on.

The Orla Kiely range is extensive and this can present difficulties in using templates. Out-of-stock items are not removed from category listing pages, which can be frustrating for the shopper.

While the campaign imagery is superb, at product level it’s very functional. For example, handbags are high-price items, so alternative shots, different views and internal shots would be useful and improve conversion.

The checkout pages could do with a bit of TLC. The design is basic, with no security messages, no delivery information or costs on the basket page.

Although the products are great, the site’s lack of personality means I still don’t know who Orla Kiely is, what her background is, what she likes, or what her opinions are.

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